Update: Brent Simmons write on his blog that Vesper for Mac is indeed next.

Vesper received a major feature update overnight bringing one of the most requested features to the note-taking app: support for sync. Vesper, the project of John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus under the name Q Branch, was released almost a year ago for the iPhone and decidedly lacked iCloud sync (due to reliability) or any alternative. Simmons has since been journaling his experiencing with building an in-house sync solution for Vesper on his Inessential blog if you are interested in reading the behind-the-scenes work that goes into such a project…

If you haven’t tried Vesper in the past, the gist of it is that it’s an attractive alternative to the Apple-offered Notes app on iOS (with an alternative sync engine now too, right?). Rather than grouping only chronologically, Vesper also focuses on grouping by user-created tags which act as folders of sorts but allow you to file notes across multiple folders. Vesper also handles photos within notes whereas Apple’s notes app only supports images on the Mac and that content does not reach back to the iPhone and iPad.

The sync works as you would expect including keeping your photos and tags up-to-date. I tried the new feature between my iPhone and my iPad (using the scaled up iPhone app) and it’s fast and reliable. Apple’s Notes app has a history of creating duplicate entries over time and knowing which to delete can be challenging, but Vesper hasn’t shown any symptoms of this in my initial usage.

Vesper, however, is still iPhone-only meaning you won’t be able to take advantage of that sync on iPad just yet unless you can settle for the stretched out iPhone app and keyboard on the larger display. It does serve as a reliable way to backup notes, though, without relying on complete iCloud or iTunes backups. With sync out of the way now, I would imagine that tackling other platforms like the iPad, the Web, and possibly the Mac will come next.

Personally, I find the feature set and user interface of Vesper to be far more appealing than even iOS 7’s Notes offering, but I also find myself needing to access my notes across multiple devices including my iPad and two Macs. For someone who lives and breathes solely on their iPhone, though, Vesper is an attractive alternative and sync for backup makes it much easier to recommend.

Vesper 2.0 is available for $4.99 on the App Store for iOS 7 or later. The update, including sync, is free for existing customers.

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2 Responses to “Vesper 2 for iPhone adds sync support for backing up notes (Vesper for Mac next)”

  1. Stetson says:

    The most interesting thing to me is that they built their custom syncing on top of Azure.

    I feel like Apple should really just officially partner with Microsoft on cloud services for developers. I appreciate that Apple is trying to roll their own (although parts of iCloud I believe are actually running on top of Azure). Cloud services just don’t seem to be Apple’s strength, and it seems like Microsoft is providing better tools than Apple on Apple’s own platform.


  2. I quite like Vesper. It’s simple, attractively designed, and functions well. But the iPhone-only limitation has kept me from making it my main notes source. Once they release a Mac and iPad version, I’ll be all aboard.